A MESSAGE FROM MARIANNE
dear mcc community,
I continue to be astounded by the extraordinary work of Maternity Care Coalition (MCC). Since our founding over 40 years ago, MCC has served nearly 150,000 parents, children, and babies. Every fall, I look forward to writing this letter to you, as it gives me the chance to reflect on the year that has passed. I appreciate sharing our many accomplishments, the hurdles we’ve overcome, and the new challenges that lie ahead.
This year we focused on building critical infrastructure to support how MCC will operate post-COVID and beyond. We transitioned to a telecommuting agency where some staff work from home while others continue to work in one of our nine sites throughout the region. We tackled pay equity and strengthened our IT systems so that staff and partners can operate securely and safely. These investments allow our staff to better collaborate and aid in the success stories and outcomes you will read about later in this report.
MCC prioritizes people in all we do, and we have a strong commitment to racial equity. For example, our awardwinning Montco Mamas program used Lived Experience Experts and other stakeholders to prioritize the research findings and recommend viable solutions for that community. We believe that parents are the experts in their own experience, and they have the right to set goals for themselves and their babies, free from value judgements and widely held expectations. Advocating for parental autonomy is one of the keys to MCC’s sustained impact.
We are proud to share that MCC’s revenues grew from $13MM to $14.5MM and we are projecting $17MM in revenues next year. We increased corporate sponsor support by 47%, expanded into Lehigh County, significantly grew our evidence-based Healthy Families America (HFA) child abuse prevention program, and gained national attention and funding for our recently PA accredited Perinatal
Community Health Worker | Doula Training program. Our Policy and Advocacy Team is also leading the Perinatal Health work for a non-partisan statewide campaign. Our staff continue to be invited to serve as thought leaders, panelists, and contributors in local, state, and national Maternal and Child Health forums.
Finally, we made the strategic decision to exit our administrative headquarters office in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia and redirect the higher rent savings into raising staff salaries. We relocated our official headquarters to Kensington, one of the communities where many of our families live.
Undoubtedly, this coming year will hold many more challenges. Our communities are barraged with heartbreaking levels of violence and continue to experience ongoing financial strain after the pandemic. MCC will continue to advocate locally, statewide, and nationally for the rights of our clients. We want equitable access to quality healthcare, doula reimbursement, and protection of reproductive rights for all.
As a mother of three Black sons, I know first-hand the struggles of parenthood. I, like most parents, want our children to have equal opportunities and to grow up and lead safe and rewarding lives. This requires all of us to work together to dismantle the systems that are preventing equity and justice for all. Please join me in this critical work to build a world where every parent can birth with dignity, parent with autonomy, and raise babies who are healthy, growing, and thriving.Warm
regards,Marianne A. Fray Chief Executive Officer
For so many, the early days and years of being a parent do not come easily. This season of life can be fraught with challenges that lead parents to question themselves as caretakers. For Bibi, the parenting journey was filled with ups and downs. Looking for support and guidance, she discovered MCC.
When Bibi first found MCC, her husband was living in their home country, Pakistan, and their daughter Manha, now five, was just an infant. MCC provided Bibi with a crib and diapers, the essentials she needed at the time, but looking back, Bibi knows she could have benefited from emotional support as well.
Years later, when she became pregnant with her son Zaviyar, she immediately thought of MCC. This time she was connected with an MCC Advocate, an individual staff member whose goal was to support her parenting journey.
Although nervous to welcome someone new into her home, Bibi was thankful she quickly felt comfortable with her Advocate. In the early months of battling sleepless nights and navigating life with two young children, she often felt she couldn’t handle being a mom. During those hard times, her Advocate listened and provided her with the guidance she needed to increase her confidence. Her Advocate reminded her that she truly is the best mother for her children and gave her the tools to make her own decisions as a parent.
Today, in addition to working with her Advocate, Bibi participates in MCC’s virtual parenting group, furthering her knowledge of child development and surrounding her with a community of support. Perhaps most importantly, the group reminds her that moms need to take care of themselves, too. “I give time to [my kids], then I give time to myself," she says. "Being a mom is a hard job, but we can do it.”
These collective services provided by MCC assist Bibi in navigating parenthood with confidence and provide her with the tools she needs to parent with autonomy.
“I can do this. I’m a Mom, and I can do it.”Bibi's children Manha and Zaviyar
THE POWER OF MOTHERHOOD
mcc's parenting groups, doula, and lactation services
Parenting education classes, doula, and lactation services are provided to caregivers and birthing people at no cost to them. These services provide a supportive community and the guiding tools they need to birth with dignity and parent with autonomy.
Community doula and lactation services for 490 mothers and birthing people.
Workforce development for 34 participants in our Perinatal Community Health Worker Program.
Parenting and childbirth education classes to 470 parents.
“This group helped me envision the kind of mother that I want to be.”
babies start to hear low-frequency noises from outside the womb.
MCC’s Fatherhood Initiative believes that each father and father figure should be equipped with the knowledge and support they need to play a vital and equal role in their child’s life. Since joining the program, Diego simply shared:
never know too much.”
Diego is a father of three. His daughters, Rossibelle and Dannabelle, are 5 and 3, respectively, and he welcomed his son, Dominick, this past August. Growing up, Diego did not know his own father, and this shaped the way he parents. Diego stated that one of the biggest reasons he joined MCC’s Fatherhood Initiative is so he can be the best father possible to his children.
He reflected that the benefits of the program were almost immediate. While his partner, Rosanna, was pregnant, Diego learned the advantages of reading and singing to babies while they are still in the womb.
policy and advocacy
This past year was a win for policy. As a member of the Childhood Begins at Home Campaign, our advocacy helped secure a historic $15 million increase for evidence-based home visiting in the Pennsylvania budget.
The work doesn’t stop there. We will continue to advocate for perinatal health equity and expanded access to high-quality family support services. We will also explore opportunities to expand our agenda to deepen our impact and accelerate progress.
Without system changes, the right to parent with autonomy is at risk. MCC believes policies need to support parents’ rights and choices, and we will continue to make sure we fight for changes that uplift families.
canDiego and his family
FINDING STRENGTH IN FATHERHOOD
Diego fondly sang songs and read with Rosanna while she was pregnant. Now that Dominick is here, he knows Diego’s voice and the two of them share a special bond. Diego shared that, of course, having a newborn isn’t always easy. Having someone from MCC to talk with about the hardships of welcoming a new baby, especially while he adjusts to nighttime wakeups again, is so meaningful to his parenting journey. Working with Constantino, MCC’s Male Engagement Specialist, Diego has felt more comfortable with each visit. He shared that his confidence as a father has soared since joining MCC. He appreciates being able to connect with someone more experienced who has “been there.” Diego has found suggestions like singing to the children work for him, allowing him to find the parenting skills that make sense for his family and his personal strengths to be what he always desired: the best father possible. Diego’s advice to new fathers is simple: love your kids. He encourages new fathers to invest time in their children and nurture their interests.
In his words:
being a father “...is not just a name, being a father is a responsibility …you are creating the future.”
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